California charts a smarter course to cutting greenhouse gases

Legislators renew commitment to nuclear power

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Editorials

September 7, 2022 - 3:22 PM

Aerial view of Diablo Canyon Power Plant, a nuclear power plant that sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County, California. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

In approving more than $50 billion to move away from energy sources that spew carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the nation’s largest state just took a significant step forward in the battle to curb climate change. Good for California’s Democrat-dominated government — and double good that in doing so, legislators included nuclear power in the zero-emissions energy mix, keeping the state’s last nuclear plant alive rather than moving ahead with plans to mothball it by 2025.

They made the wise move after scientists at Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that delaying the retirement of Diablo Canyon’s reactors beyond their planned retirement would save California billions, reduce the chances of brownouts and lower carbon emissions.

Not long ago, New York moved in the opposite direction, saying sayonara to Indian Point, which satisfied about a quarter of the city’s electricity needs without emitting any carbon dioxide. Since then, as we and others predicted, we’ve grown increasingly reliant on high-emissions energy, making it all that much harder to satisfy ambitious targets set by a state climate law.

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